Can you freeze spaghetti?

In this article, we will answer the question “Can you freeze spaghetti?”, and we also discussed what is the shelf life of spaghetti in the fridge, how to freeze it, and what happens if you consume spoiled spaghetti. 

Can you freeze spaghetti?

Yes, you can freeze spaghetti. Freezing cooked spaghetti is an easy way to store a quick meal or leftovers for later use. Freezing foods is also one of the best ways to preserve their shelf-life, color, flavor, and nutritive value.

So, before storing it in the refrigerator, allow the spaghetti to cool completely. Check the temperature of your refrigerator and freezer with an appliance thermometer. 

The refrigerator should be at 40 °F or below and the freezer at 0 °F or below. Then, place the spaghetti in the freezer, flattening it to save room and guarantee even freezing (1,2). 

When you’re ready to use the frozen spaghetti, take out the desired amount and place it in the refrigerator overnight to thaw (2).

What is the shelf life of spaghetti in the fridge?

The shelf life of spaghetti in the fridge can vary depending on how it is stored and the specific circumstances. 

Cooked spaghetti can be stored in the refrigerator for about 3 to 5 days in the fridge (1).

But when properly stored in the freezer, cooked spaghetti can maintain its quality for an extended period. The shelf life will vary if it is cooked spaghetti with sauce or plain cooked one.

If the spaghetti is cooked with sauce, it can typically be stored in the freezer for about 2 to 3 months. The sauce helps to protect the spaghetti from freezer burn and maintain its moisture. 

Now, if the spaghetti is plain without any sauce, it can be stored in the freezer for a slightly shorter period, around 1 to 2 months as plain spaghetti tends to dry out more quickly in the freezer (3).

What affects the shelf life of spaghetti in the fridge?

The shelf life of the leftover pasta in the fridge depends on different factors. Nex we separate some of them for you:

The storage temperature 

The temperature of your refrigerator plays a crucial role in determining the shelf life of spaghetti. To maximize its freshness, store cooked spaghetti in the refrigerator at a temperature of 40°F (4°C) or below. Higher temperatures can promote bacterial growth and spoilage. 

Besides, when you open the refrigerator door, it allows warm air from the surrounding area to enter the fridge. This can result in an increase in temperature inside the refrigerator, even if it’s only for a brief period. The temperature fluctuation can expedite the proliferation of bacteria and other microorganisms on perishable food items (4,5). 

Bacteria growth

Due to its elevated water activity, spaghetti is prone to various hazards, including Salmonella, Staphylococcus aureus, and spoilage molds. Without the incorporation of preservatives or the utilization of reduced oxygen packaging to inhibit the growth of spoilage organisms, refrigerated spaghetti in this state will have a limited shelf life (4). 

Storage Container

The type of container used to store the spaghetti can also affect its shelf life. Opt for airtight containers or sealable plastic bags to minimize exposure to air and moisture, which can lead to faster deterioration and potential contamination (6).

Cooking/ hygiene practices 

Proper handling and storage practices are essential to prevent contamination. So, make sure to use clean utensils when serving and avoid cross-contamination with other foods that may carry bacteria. If you notice any signs of mold, an off odor, or unusual texture changes, it’s best to discard the spaghetti to ensure food safety (7).

Time of storage

The longer cooked spaghetti sits in the refrigerator, the greater the chance of bacterial growth and quality degradation. While it can typically be stored for about 3 to 5 days, it’s best to consume it within the earlier part of that range for optimal taste and quality (3).

How to freeze spaghetti?

There are two different ways of freezing spaghetti. You should try out both to see what suits you best.

Freezing spaghetti and sauce/meatballs separately 

Follow the steps below to freeze spaghetti (1,2,3):

  • Cook the spaghetti according to package instructions. Leave it slightly undercooked so that it does not become mushy upon reheating. 
  • Drain the pasta and toss it with some olive oil and seasoning. Let the pasta cool down to room temperature.
  • Do not let the pasta sit on the counter for too long. When cooled, divide the pasta into meal-sized portions so that you can thaw just the right amount of spaghetti you need at a time.
  • Put the portions into a freezer bag. Squeeze as much air as possible from the bag.
  • Label the label. This helps in the identification of frozen food. It also helps keep track of its shelf-life. Freeze and voila!.

Steps to freeze meatballs or meat sauce (1,2,3):

  • Cook the meatballs with the sauce as per the recipe. Allow the sauce and meatballs to cool down to room temperature.
  • Then divide everything into meal-sized portions. Smear the inside of the freezer bag or container with some olive oil. This will prevent the tomato sauce from leaving a bright orange stain on the insides of the container. 
  • Put the portions in a storage bag or container.
  • Squeeze out as much air as possible from the bag. Label the container and freeze.

Freezing spaghetti with sauce/meatballs

Freezing spaghetti with the sauce/meatballs is relatively easy. Follow the steps below to safely do so (1,2,3,6):

  • Make the spaghetti with the meatballs using your favorite recipe. Cook the pasta al-dente.
  • Then divide everything into meal-sized portions.
  • Brush some olive oil on the insides of the storage container/bag. This will prevent staining. Pack each position into a freezer bag or an air-tight container. 
  • Squeeze out as much air as possible from the bag. If you opted for the air-tight container, make sure the seal of its lid is tight.
  • Put a clear label on the container and freeze.

How to defrost frozen spaghetti?

The safest way to defrost frozen spaghetti is to leave it in the fridge overnight. This may take some time but it minimizes the chance of quality loss during thawing. Spaghetti thawed using this method can be refrozen or refrigerated (2).

Your second-best option is to leave the spaghetti on the counter for several hours until it comes loose. For a more speedy thawing, you submerge the spaghetti container in cold water. Microwaving should be your last resort (8,9).

If you thaw your spaghetti using any of the quick-thawing methods, you need to eat it right away. Refrigeration or refreezing is not an option for such a spaghetti since it buys the microbes enough time to contaminate the food (2).

How to tell if spaghetti has spoiled?

To tell if spaghetti has spoiled you have to be able to see signs of spoilage by looking at it and feeling it (10,11,13). 

One of the most obvious indicators of outdated pasta is when it becomes slimy or sticky, which usually happens just before visible mold begins to appear.

 It may also have a dullness or discoloration, such as a grayish or yellowish tone. You may even be able to smell when your pasta has gone bad and should be discarded. 

Another sign is the bad odor, if it emits a sour, rancid, or off-putting odor, it is likely spoiled. Fresh spaghetti should not have a strong, unpleasant smell.

The texture can also change and show signs of spoilage, if the spaghetti feels slimy, excessively mushy, or has developed a clumpy or sticky consistency, it could indicate spoilage. 

The same goes when it comes to taste. If it has an unusual or off taste, it’s best to err on the side of caution and discard it.

All of those signs indicate that your spaghetti has spoiled, so be careful because spoiled food can be harmful for your health.

What happens if you eat spoiled spaghetti?

Consuming spoiled spaghetti can result in sickness if it contains harmful microorganisms, and the effects can differ among individuals. The symptoms of foodborne illness can span from mild to severe, depending on the specific microorganisms present in the pasta you ingested.(12,13).

Frequent symptoms of gastrointestinal issues due to a food poisoning are:

  • stomach discomfort
  •  diarrhea
  •  vomiting 

Bacillus cereus is a common foodborne bacteria that can flourish on spoiled spaghetti, potentially causing symptoms such as stomach cramps, queasiness, diarrhea, and vomiting. In more serious cases, this microorganism has been linked to fatal consequences.(14,15).

If you consume spoiled spaghetti along with other ingredients such as meat, eggs, or dairy products, the likelihood of coming into contact with different prevalent microorganisms like Salmonella, Campylobacter, Clostridium, or Listeria increases (12,15).

To minimize the chances of foodborne illness stemming from the consumption of leftover pasta, it is recommended to follow the suggested recommendations for pasta shelf life mentioned previously, examine the pasta before consuming it, and utilize proper storage techniques..


In this article, we answered the question “Can you freeze spaghetti?”, and we also discussed what is the shelf life of spaghetti in the fridge, how to freeze it, and what happens if you consume spoiled spaghetti. 


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10. What are the signs of food spoilage?. USDA, 2023. 

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12. Shelf-life for refrigerated partially dried pasta. Environmental Health Services, 2013.

13. Bintsis, T. Foodborne pathogens. AIMS Microbiol. 2017; 3(3): 529–563.

14. McDowell, A.H. Bacillus Cereus. StatPearls, 2023. 

15. Naranjo M, Denayer S, Botteldoorn N, et al. Sudden death of a young adult associated with Bacillus cereus food poisoning. J Clin Microbiol. 2011;49(12):4379-4381.